The Savage Pen

The Savage Pen

In this installment of what is Peter doing with his ShopTime?  We find him preparing to meet up with Adam Savage to deliver a micarta hammer that he made out of Adam’s book, “Every Tool is a Hammer”.  In addition to gifting Adam this custom hammer, Peter decides to bestow an item that began as a fantastic viewer suggestion.

He challenged Peter to create a pen out of scraps generated from a failed attempt at the micarta book.  Upon a bit of research, he decided to use a ballpoint pen kit called the “Phoenix” and thought that was a most fitting name.  These kits have all of the pen components you would need except for the body of the pen itself, which Peter will create on the lathe.

The first step is to get the material down to the appropriate dimensions of pen blank.  After this basic shape is obtained, it is time for the drill press to create the hole within the pen blank itself to house all of the innards of the pen.

Within the kit are some small brass tubes.  These tubes are to be abrated with sandpaper in order to have an irregular surface for the resin to grab onto.  After coating one of the brass tubes with resin, it is to be inserted all of the way into the pen blank.  The final step to preparing the pen blanks to be turned is a process called barrel trimming. This process bores out unnecessary resin from the blank in order to shorten it up to the exact length of the brass tube within. 

After securely attaching the pen mandrel to the lathe, you just slip on the pen blank and then bring in the tail stock to position against the other end of the mandrel.  This helps support the blank while it spins around and around at 1000 rpm! 

Using carious cutting tools, Peter brings the pen into his desired shape and begins the finishing process.  This starts with a solid sanding as per usual.   When the sanding is complete, it is not completely unusual to see small nicks and imperfections in the turned blank.

This can easily be remedied using what’s called a CA finish.  Using a bit of CA glue on a rag, it can be applied to the spinning blank and helps to provide a nice seal and shine.  This may take several coats of glue to get close to your level of smoothness.  It might be advantageous to use some fine micromesh pads to continue to bring that shine level up, or even applying some automotive plastic polish might give you what you are after.

Adam’s Book:

Phoenix Pen Kit:

Rubber Mat:

Rubber Gloves:

Mixing Cups:

Mixing sticks:

Rikon 70-100 Lathe:

Easy Wood Rougher: